Category: Ready Set GrowMushrooms
emma asked 7 months ago

Mushrooms usually grow in soil. Are they seed plants?

1 Answers
Discovery Centre Staff answered 7 months ago

What a fun(gi) question Emma! Mushrooms aren’t actually plants at all. If we look back to our Diversity of Life episode, we’ll remember that living things are often classified by their characteristics. Mushrooms are in a kingdom all on their own, known as Kingdom Fungi, for many reasons. First, while they generally stay in place like plants, they do not make their own food. Instead, they get their food from breaking down dead or decaying organic matter, like fallen leaves. They also breathe oxygen like us, rather than carbon dioxide like plants do. Now that we know mushrooms aren’t plants, how do they reproduce? Instead of using seeds to reproduce, fungi use something called spores, similar to the ferns we saw in the video. The spores travel from the mature mushroom (confusingly known as the fruiting body) through water and air, and land on the soil. If there is food and moisture, they will start to grow tiny threads into the soil called hyphae, which will eventually turn into a root-like network that helps them collect the water and nutrients they need to survive.

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